Nicole Sawaya's ?last? Manager's Report

On March 30, KPFA Manager Nicole Sawaya gave a report to the KPFA Local Board. Here is Maria Gilardin's report on the meeting


Here is what may be - if Nicole is not reinstated - her last manager's report, roughly transcribed from a tape recording that I made. I have no time to make it verbatim but made it still long enough to express some of
the elegance and determination with which it was given.

All of us listening that night were in a way filling in the dots and connecting the lines. I learned a lot that fit in with other comments and facts and I found the experience extremely chilling. For me, as former staff, these still careful words open up the view of Pacifica National as a totally incompetent and quite corrupt organization.

In her short stay at the station she apparently gained more insight into this secret cabal than many others who were there for long. But, see for yourselves how you understand her words!

Maria Gilardin


Nicole Sawaya
Managers Report, March 3/30/99

Station Report
All is well with the station, I just did the listener report. Our reporter, Wendell Harper, was excluded at a Chevron press conference. I called Chevron who hung up on me, also called Feinstein, several media including Nation, Amy Goodman, The Progressive, S.F. Bay Guardian and others and asked and received help from the National Communications Director who put out a press release.

Preview on the 15th, 3 pm,  which is the 50th anniversary for KPFA with open house, archive tapes. Mentioned the awards at the NFCB as well as Bernstein's award from Project Censored.

Mentioned death of Samori as a great loss to all of us, sent card signed by staff, wants to donate to a fund, asked if anybody wanted to contribute.

Report on Governance Change/addressed to the National Board I  received letters from listeners who will no longer give because of the governance change. Also the treatment of Bensky was mentioned as reason
for no longer giving - as you know, she said,  Bensky is not employed by KPFA but by Pacifica National. But that's how it happens. People equate Pacifica with KPFA and KPFA takes the blame.

People on the governance board, read my lips: no new taxes (She refers to the levy that Pacifica collects from the five stations that now stands at 17.25 %)

She said she believed that more staff has been added to National and there are several vacant positions that apparently will be filled. Nicole wants to see the job descriptions for all these people.

At the technical committee meeting at the board there  was a question whether a consultant had been used, "I believe the answer was no" but actually a report was issued by a consultant on the KU band. This paid
consultants report was issued without  having spoken to staff that actually runs the KU and the  report was held as confidential. (laughter)

I was at the NFCB conference and gave the welcoming remarks and did attend the affiliates meeting which I found very interesting. There were about 10 stations there and it was brought up by 4 of the affiliates that
they were very concerned about the governance change. They are hearing from their listeners about the changes and had nothing to say and they asked the executive director who chaired the meeting what they should tell their listeners. Also the affiliates expressed concern about the technical glitches in Democracy Now. Also they have concern about Voices from Pacifica which is not geared toward radio time, sometimes it is comes down as 45 minutes, sometimes 58 - most of them had dropped that program. They also talked about the contract with Pacifica and mentioned that they might come up with their own news and drop Pacifica.

Also affiliate fees were never talked about. That is very unusual for a meeting of Pacifica with their affiliates.

There was a meeting with national program staff to which I was not invited - none of the general managers were invited. Cheryl Flowers and Larry Bensky were invited the day before the meeting. Cheryl went but Bensky was unable to change his plans. At that meeting Cheryl was told that she would have to market Sunday Salon on her own.

I need to know what my avenues are in relation to the national board - I feel at a loss understanding what are the avenues, I need to know where the accountability lies, especially in regards to the finances. I would also like to know if the organizational chart which was published in the Board Book stands. I have yet to get an answer. It was the chart that Larry presented - that was not the chart I was given when I was recruited for this job and left NPR to take this job. When I was recruited I was told that the five general managers sit at the governance table but as you know we don't sit at the governance table. We don't even sit at the table. On the published org. chart the general mangers are at the same level as the KU - we are about the third level down.

I also like to know if during any executive session at the last board meeting members of the governance board were told not to talk to general mangers. That is what I was told.

I have yet to have a contract.

We had an all staff meeting and Larry brought in the chart and staff here discussed it. I would like to know what the reaction of the national Board was to the chart which essentially explains that we are paying more money
for less services.

And that's my report



Curt Gray:
Is there still an administrative Council?

Yes there is, it is not on the org. chart but we did spend 2 days before the board meeting with 5 general managers, two Pacifica staff people an a facilitator / consultant. A lot of the talk was about relationships and
fluffy stuff. Some of the GMS came with real issues that we need to talk about, re finances etc. but most of the time was spent talking about how we are going to be better working organization.

Who do you report to, the Executive Director?

On the org. chart we report to the Director of Operations and Planning, which is vacant and the Director reports to the Executive Director. Lynn Chadwick last April 1 became the first Director of Operations and Planning.

Pete Bramson answers:
Fallout. Have you communicated those findings? Can you be more specific re no new taxes?

The dues we are paying should not increase but rather decrease. We get less service and less programming and I have yet to se a real articulation of the services that we get.

This unit manager is asking for those fees to be justified. Is that correct?

Justified,  decreased and nothing new added.

Mary Berg
I don't know how anybody could intuit what is meant by "unit manager" - some time in the recent past Pacifica has seen fit to call stations "units"

Laughter and comments such as: that sounds corporate

We are just beginning the budget making process. It has to be presented at the June meeting sent back to us if necessary and the be approved in October. We need to know if the levy is going up.

If other GMs are feeling the same they should get together and become a force. Do you want me to ask for the job descriptions?

I have tried to get them and am not receiving them. I'm also curious if the National Board is curious about job descriptions and discusses them.

Job descriptions are important. I think that is a fair request. I don't see them before they are posted.

I asked Mary Tilson 1 1/2 years ago for the job description for the ED and she  refused to give it to me.

Has the Board become a fundraising board? Rule of thumb in non-profits is: Give or Get or Get Off. Boards are there to help the local organization fund raise.

I have not been charged with being a fund raiser.

The local board is not charged with fund raising, neither is the national. I have nobody I can go to to ask help me fund raise for this non-profit.

Do you have no faith...

It is not a question of faith, it is a job description.

Mary Berg
More people find out that a large percentage of their contribution to KPFA is going to Pacifica and they ask how to give to KPFA without giving to Pacifica. Also people are concerned how fast the levy has gone up in
recent years.


That's it for this part of the meeting. What followed was a a discussion what the LAB was to do now that it had lost the last glimmer of significance. Lauren suggested that they should all resign. Nicole asked them not to. After that was public comment.

My personal comment here and now:

We need to ask for Lynn Chadwick's resignation for the opening of the books and for rescinding of the governance change

Maria Gilardin

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